I’ve lived in Chicago for most of my life, and Sears is one of our retail staples here in the Midwest. They have a huge selection – and they’re an especially good spot for high quality appliances and tools, with their Kenmore and Craftsman brands. But if you don’t have time to run to the store and research products, Sears has a new service that can help – it’s called Alfie.
The Alfie is a combination of a gadget you plug in at home, and an app that runs on your smartphone, backed by a team of personal shopping assistants. Alfie connects with your home Wi-Fi network, and can connect you with Sears’ shopping team to help you with every aspect of your purchases. Whether you need assistance picking an item to buy for yourself or as a gift, or want to figure out the best product for a particular need, or want to schedule a delivery, Alfie has got you covered.
Using Alfie is simple. Once you’ve set it up and connected it to your home Wi-Fi network, you simply tap the big “Talk” button on top and make a request in plain English. In the background, the system goes in search of whatever it is you’re looking for. In a few moments, you’ll receive a message back via the Alfie app with suggestions to answer your request. As your personal assistant responds, Alfie’s speech bubble lights up to let you know you have a message. Just press the button and it will let you know what they suggested, or you can always just view responses in the app.
Now unlike regular online shopping, there’s a human touch here, as Alfie is backed by Sears’ team of shoppers, who take the time to research and personally assist each customer who uses the gadget. So you can have an actual two-way dialogue if you need help with a product. For instance, I was looking for an iPhone 7 wall charger, but I misspoke and asked said “I need an iPhone wall charging cable.” The app came back with a suggestion for a USB-to-Lightning cable, but I was able to then clarify my need, and the Alfie assistant suggested exactly what I was looking for.
Once you figure out the product that’s right for you, it’s a matter of telling Alfie to order it. If you’ve already got your payment and shipping info stored, your personal shopper takes care of the rest, and sends along a message confirming order details. Simply reply with “Alfie Fetch!,” and your order is placed. Keep in mind that these steps aren’t instantaneous like ordering from a website, but the plus side is that there’s an actual human being helping you out.
Alfie retails for $49.99(USD), and can be purchased in Sears stores or online at Sears.com. However, for a limited time, it’s available for just $29.99, and if you sign up for Shop Your Way, you’ll get $50 in points to spend once you activate your account.
Read more about Alfie and what other bloggers think of the technology over at Men Who Blog.